Policy Brief 72, February 2020
US-China trade deal: preliminary analysis of the text from WTO perspective
By Peter Lunenborg
The long-awaited ‘Phase 1’ trade deal between the United States and China, officially termed the ‘Economic and Trade Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People’s Republic of China’, was signed on 15 January 2020. It will enter into force on Valentine’s Day, on Friday, 14 February 2020. This deal is a result of US exercise of political power and unilateral World Trade Organization (WTO)-inconsistent tariffs in order to extract trade concessions, an expression of the most pure protectionism that the WTO is supposed to prevent. Nevertheless, the WTO was unhelpful in addressing the US economic aggression against China. This failure to protect a Member from illegitimate unilateral measures is, perhaps, one of the most significant manifestations of the often-mentioned ‘crisis’ of the WTO, and actually is one of the subjects on which the proposed ‘reform’ of the organization should focus.
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This article was tagged: Agriculture, Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), China, Dispute Settlement, Domestic Support, Exports, Financial Services, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), GATS, GATT, Group of Ninety (G-90), Imports, Investment Facilitation, Most Favoured Nation (MFN), Protectionism, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, Special and Differential Treatment, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs), Tariffs, Technology Transfer, Trade, Trade War, Transparency, TRIMS, Unilateral Measures, United States (US), US Section 301 Trade Act, US-China trade deal, US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), World Trade Organization (WTO), WTO, WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), WTO Reform, WTO Safeguards Agreement